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Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
1 June 2004
OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S DAY
: (UNFPA, UNICEF)
1.8 million Palestinian children live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
53% of the Palestinian population are children under 18 years old.
1.2 million Palestinian children are of school age.
Since September 2000:
UNICEF, UNFPA, UNRWA, UNOHCHR
More than 670 children have been killed, of which 573 were Palestinian and 105 Israeli.
Over 2,500 Palestinian homes or buildings have been destroyed affecting more than 6,000 children.
Almost 2,000 Palestinian children have been arrested, interrogated, detained or imprisoned.
Currently, 337 Palestinian children are in Israeli prisons.
Restricting Access to Schools:
The movement restrictions, delays at checkpoints and the lengthy detours taken to reach schools have lead to schools closing and increased absences for both students and teachers.
In the 2002-2003 school year, UNRWA's 95 schools in the West Bank serving 60,000 school children, reported:
1,475 lost school days.
A daily average of 145 teachers unable to reach their schools. This constituted 9% of the UNRWA teaching staff and cost UNRWA $831,230 USD.
Deteriorating quality of education:
School drop-out rates have decreased mostly because students have transferred to other schools. However, the quality of education continues to suffer as a result of the closures, the Barrier, and violence in civilian areas.
Pass rates in UNRWA West Bank schools declined dramatically for the 2003/2004 school year compared to 2000/2001. In particular:
+ Arabic language for 8th grade dropped by 12.1% (from 76.7% to 64.6%).
+ Mathematics 6th grade dropped by 35.1% (from 68.7% to 33.6%).
+ Science for 4th grade dropped by 33.5% (from 71.5% to 38%).
In a survey of its schools, UNRWA found a 20% rate of hyper-tension symptoms, 16% low achievement rate, and an 11.5% rate of fear and anxiety.
A comparison done in April 2003 of pass rates between an UNRWA elementary school inTulkarm camp, which is subjected to frequent IDF incursions and curfews, and another UNRWA elementary school in the relatively calm nearby Nur Shams camp, demonstrates the effects of such violence:
Hope for the next generation:
Source: PCBS/UNICEF/UNFPA Youth Survey 2003
One of the most enduring qualities of children is their sense of hope for a better future. In a recent survey of approximately 4,300 Palestinian youths between the ages of 10-24:
58.9% of the youth state that their first concern is their education.
13.3% use the computer and 5.8% use the internet.
91% are optimistic about the future.